Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 21st May 2021

A mixed bag from Thursday's race, if truth be told. My second and third best finished second and third, but the one expected to win, bombed out and came home stone last. I completely overlooked the winner who seemed to improve dramatically after a poor run of form, but I did get the high draw suggestion right, as he won from stall 11 of 11.

I made a small profit from Smith's E/W success, but nothing to write home about, so I'll be hoping for better on Friday, where our feature of the day is the Horses for Courses report, whilst our free races of the day are...

  • 1.10 Goodwood
  • 1.55 Downpatrick
  • 2.05 Haydock
  • 4.25 Haydock
  • 4.50 Downpatrick
  • 8.40 Worcester

I only had one qualifier on my H4C report and I don't fancy his chances, so it's back to the free races and the best of that list is the first of the two Haydock races. There are only six runners and a likely warm favourite, but they don't always win, do they?

The race itself is the 2.05 Haydock, the 6-runner EBF British Stallion Studs Cecil Frail Listed race for 3yo+ Fillies & Mares. The trip is a straight 6f on Good to Soft /Soft ground and the race is worth £26,654 to one of these...

Last Empire heads the weights, conceding 9-12lbs all round and she's the only 5 yr old in the contest, racing against a bunch of three year olds. Dense Star is the only one without a recent win on their form line and she, along with Mamba Wamba are the two without a win at this trip, whereas Last Empire is the only course and distance winner.

All bar Twilight Spinner ran in a Class 1 contest last time out, but she is the only LTO winner in the field, albeit in a Class 5 maiden! Most of the field carry 8st 8lbs here and Dandalla is clearly best off at the weights.

Adrian Nicholls (Mamba Wamba) is the only trainer with a positive notifier (14) after gaining 2 wins from 8 in the last fortnight, whilst Connor Beasley (Dense Star) has two icons (14, C1) having made the frame in 12 of 23 rides over the last fortnight and has also won 5 of 19 here at Haydock over the last 12 months.

Finally, the SR ratings suggest a tight contest between likely fav Dandalla and Twilight Spinner.

Last Empire has hit the crossbar in each of her last three outings, beaten by just 1.5L, 1L and 1.25L respectively, taking her record to 3 wins and 3 further places from 11. She won a Class 4 contest over course and distance here on heavy ground in August 2019 and all her seven subsequent runs have been at Class 1, so she knows what's needed here.

Ventura Diamond signed off for 2020 by winning a 6f Listed race on heavy ground at Newmarket before taking 166 days off. She probably needed the run when beaten by 6.5 lengths at Group 3 upon her return, also at Newmarket. She was last seen 13 days ago when third in another 6f Listed race on heavy ground where she was one place and three quarters of a length behind Last Empire and now she's a pound worse off, which will make overturning that deficit difficult.

Dandalla was a winner of two Group races over this trip on Good to Soft/Soft ground last summer, but has been beaten by 5L and 3.25L in two runs so far this season, albeit in better races and on quicker ground than this one. The drop back to 6f, softer ground and a first time tongue tie might well be the right mix for a return to winning ways.

Dense Star has only won one of her eleven starts to date and that was a maiden at Navan last September, but she ran respectably to finish 3rd of 7 (beaten by 3.5 lengths) in a Listed race first time out for her new handler at Chelmsford three weeks ago. She has the ability to improve, but I don't fancy her chances here.

Mamba Wamba won a Class 3 Novice race at York last September before finishing 4th in a Group 3 and 3rd in a big-field Listed race. She was then only beaten by 2.25 lengths at group 3 just 6 days later before being stood down for the season. She reappeared in mid-April to be well beaten (9th of 10) in the Nell Gwyn and would need to improve sharply to land this, based on that run.

Twilight Spinner is the least exposed of the field, having raced in just two Class 5 contests, finishing third on debut last month and then winning by almost three lengths at Ripon a fortnight ago. She could well be capable of stepping up in quality, but it is a big step and she's an unknown quantity. The rivals from her two previous outings haven't really done much of note either. A watching brief, I'd suggest.

The field's place stats under similar conditions... that most of have handled the underfoot conditions well enough, the top three in the list have performed at this level (and better) and are well suited by the 6f trip.

Have they converted those places into wins, though?

Hmmm, generally not, but Dandalla's figures do look good, with Ventura Diamond performing well at the trip.

The draw stats would suggest avoiding the middle stalls would be best, whilst stall by stall, the numbers look like this...

Stall 1 does really well and is only second best behind stall 5, but with stall 6 also having good results, I'd prefer high over low here, which is good news for the likely fav, Dandalla. She's generally held up for a run, but whether that's a good tactic here or not is another matter. let's look at the pace stats for similar contests...

Well, it looks like that's spot on for her after all and when we align pace and draw together...

We see that nobody has the perfect pace/draw make-up, but none are that far away from being "in the green".


I expect Dense Star & Ventura Diamond to make the running with Dandalla sitting in behind the other three for a late run. Her class and ability suggest she should get there, but Ventura Diamond might end up being a tough nut to crack. I fancy Dandalla & Ventura Diamond to be the first two home, but I'm unsure which way around, that will depend on how much work the fav is left with.

Best of the rest would be Last Empire for me despite a poor draw and a possibility of running in no-man's land.

As for prices/bets...Dandalla is 7/4 with Last Empire 9/4 and I'm not convinced either should be so short. Ventura Diamond offers some value at 6/1 and I'll take a small punt at that price, along with the reverse forecast for good measure. It is Friday, after all!


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